Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO GOVERNOR CLINTON. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781)
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JAY TO GOVERNOR CLINTON. - John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781) 
The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston, A.M. (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890-93). Vol. 1 (1763-1781).
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JAY TO GOVERNOR CLINTON.
Philadelphia, August 27, 1779.
If New York and New Hampshire, by acts of their respective Legislatures, will authorize Congress to settle the line between them, and if New York will further, by act of their Legislature, empower Congress to adjust the disputes with the people of the Grants on equitable and liberal principles, I am well persuaded it will conduce to the interest and happiness of the State. The apprehension of interfering with your police, on the one hand, and the apparent equity as well as policy of hearing the revolters before a decision against them, on the other, are obstacles which at present embarrass Congress.
Mr. Duane was of opinion before he left us that we should forbear further proceedings on the subject in Congress till the sense of our Legislature should be known. I hope it will be one of their first objects, and that they will not be too nice and critical in their reservations and restrictions. The jurisdiction is the great point; it is of no great consequence to the State, who possess and cultivate the soil, especially as we have vacant lands enough to do justice to individuals who may suffer by a decision against them.1
There are many other matters about which I should write to you were it necessary; as Mr. Morris and Mr. Duane will be with you, you will obtain more particular information from them than from my letters.
I wish the Legislature would make it a standing rule to direct the attendance of some of their delegates at every session and enter into free conference with them on the great affairs of the Continent. Many advantages, not necessary to enumerate, would result from such a measure. In times like the present it would be imprudent to trust some things to letters which at best cannot be so satisfactory as personal interviews.
Several circumstances which have come to my knowledge lead me to suspect that pains have been taken to injure Mr. Morris in the opinion of his constituents. Justice to him, as well as regard to truth, obliges me to say that he deserves well of New York, and America in general. It has been the uniform policy of some, from the beginning of the contest, to depreciate every man of worth and abilities who refused to draw in their harness. Pennsylvania suffers severely from it at this day; many of their former faithful servants have been dismissed, and others called to office who rather receive importance from, than give weight to, the places they fill. The moment any State ceases to be ably as well as honestly represented in Congress it becomes a cypher, and its vote will no longer be directed by the interest and sentiments of the State and Union, but by the art and management of designing and plausible politicians.
I think it my duty also, upon this occasion, to assure you that Mr. Duane’s industry and attention to business, and his invariable attachment to the welfare of those who sent him, deserve their commendation. Colonel Floyd’s conduct while here gained him much respect; he moved on steady, uniform principles, and appeared always to judge for himself, which, in my opinion, is one very essential qualification in a delegate, and absolutely necessary to prevent his being a mere tool.
I have prevailed upon myself to make these representations, because I think them just and because I cannot suppose they will be ascribed to improper motives by any—by you I know they will not. Popularity is not among the number of my objects; a seat in Congress I do not desire, and as ambition has in no instance drawn me into public life, I am sure it will never influence me to continue in it. Were I to consult my interest I should settle here and make a fortune; were I guided by inclination I should now be attending to a family who, independent of other misfortunes, have suffered severely in the present contest.
It is of great importance that your delegation here do not remain long in its present situation. Whatever men you may think proper to send, let me again and again press you to send able ones. The reputation of the State is exceeding high, and it would be mortifying to see it diminish.
Permit me also to suggest to you the propriety of adopting the plan by which Massachusetts provides for the maintenance of their delegates. They have a house, and keep a table at the expense of the State, besides which an allowance is made them for the maintenance of their families, who ought not to suffer by the loss of that time which is devoted to public service. Your delegates, on the contrary, are not allowed sufficient to maintain, or rather to subsist, themselves. I have heard of two or three gentlemen proposed in your State for delegates—the Chancellor, General Schuyler, and General Scott. There is another, of whom I have heard no mention, Mr. Hobart, who, if he could be spared, would, I think, be a good member; during the winter he might remain here without great inconvenience to you.
[1 ]Compare Jay’s letter to Governor Clinton of September 25, 1779. To understand all the allusions to the Vermont controversy in these letters, as well as in Benson’s preceding, reference must be made to the literature on the subject in the histories of New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire, and in the proceedings of the Continental Congress.